Those who have read my blog since its early days will know that I often reference movies when talking about my own life and experiences… What do you want from me? I make films for crying out loud!
Anyway, today will be another of those, and probably a little less light-hearted than normal, but yes; the title does refer to the movie of the same name (The Tom Hanks one… not that Oliver Reed fiasco), and if you’ll bear with me I’ll explain why.
A couple of days ago we had a glorious, warm, sunny day here in England; very unusual for February. At any rate, I was so determined not to waste it indoors that I decided to go for a long walk and do some thinking. This turned out to be a very bad idea, because I was in a very good mood and the more time I spend thinking the greater the odds that I will think myself into a dark corner, and my mood (for reasons I am at something of a loss to explain) has been up and down like a Grasshopper listening to an REM mix tape this past month or two. Perhaps it’s a combination of extremely happy circumstances in one part of my life and depressingly frustrating ones in the other. Whenever you get a high, natural or otherwise, there inevitably follows an extreme low. What goes up must come down. Anyway, that’s beside the point.
The point is that I ended up thinking myself into one of those corners on a day which is normally my highest point of the year. Don’t believe me? Check this post from last year.
For most of my life I have been a victim of what my sister colourfully refers to as “The luck of the seven blind bastards”. This, as you have no doubt gathered, is not the good kind of luck. Rather, it is the kind that makes you the last one out of the bingo hall, and first away from the poker table; the kind that makes you a target for diarrhoetic Seagulls and vomiting toddlers. It is more or less the kind of luck that people in the middle tend to have. To give you a few examples: I was always “OK” at sports; never a “Jock” but also not quite bad enough at sports, or smart enough at anything else to be a nerd. I was never a gorgeous hunk, nor was I an especially ugly duckling. I’m a writer, but I am neither a blockbuster writing, Stephen King type nor intellectual enough to be a brilliant but struggling poet. One has money and success, the other, while never likely to set the world on fire, can at least touch the fluttering hearts of the opposite sex and move people to tears. No… I resort to comedy, and I’m not especially good at that, as this post will no doubt demonstrate as clearly as though I had written misspelled knock-knock jokes in 20ft high neon letters and then forgotten the punchline. So… I am an Antonio Sallieri. I’m perfectly ok with that; I mean the guy was a teacher to Beethoven so he wasn’t entirely un-influential. The problem came when I realised my better half is a Mozart.
Now, before you start thinking I’ve gone all “Emo” on you, allow me to continue… because if there’s one thing I can do, given enough time, it is to find the silver lining around every single cloud. So, here is the point (I really mean it this time):
For the second time in 10 years I have left the comparative safety of the island on which I was marooned and, as I head into the mighty, unforgiving ocean and the tiny island disappears into the mist, I know I am now in very dangerous waters. I’m clinging to my makeshift raft, with a Portaloo for a sail, a dark ocean of uncertainty before me, and nothing to stop me from going mad except a punctured volleyball with a bloody handprint on it. From here on, I either make it back home or I perish at sea.
The problem with this analogy is that it rather depends on knowing where home is. You might not know how to get there, but at least you know what you’re looking for, and I suppose I failed so spectacularly, so many times before because I didn’t really know what I was setting out to sea in search of. Now, a few weeks ago I had the experience of feeling at home for the first time since I was a kid, but then something happened that made me question that, and this worried me. But now I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, being tossed about by storms and exposed to the relentless sun doesn’t have to be the death of you. Sure, I might be on a raft made of lollipop sticks and chewing gum, and I might not know where I’m headed… but maybe that isn’t so bad if there is someone on that death-trap with you; a companion on the stormy ocean. Maybe you’ll drown (or more likely be pushed overboard), or maybe you’ll avoid the shark attacks for long enough to find land. Whatever happens, the journey will not be short of adventure, and the night sky will be the most beautiful you’ve ever seen.
The reason I’m being optimistic about these things today is that, whilst reading my girlfriend’s latest blog post, I noticed something that made me look back at a much earlier post. I won’t explain what it was because that would detract from what she was actually trying to say (which was much more interesting to the reader), but it made me smile to myself and think Huh! Life really is strange and completely unpredictable. And no matter how dark things may seem “Who knows what the tide could bring?”
Assuming you didn’t kill yourself before reading through to the relatively happy ending of this post (and if you did that instead of simply closing the page, I’d say you had issues that I can’t be entirely to blame for), then I’ll see you next week.
I’m going now.